End of School

Finally finished my last exam of university today! No need to stress and mug for exams in a long while. Yay! For an extra semester, this turned out even more pressed for time and stressful, compared to the expected laid-back life of a graduating student. First, as usual, a quick summary of modules.

CS3211 Parallel and Concurrent Programming: Good awareness course to a whole new world of programming parallel solutions. Programming assignments were enriching, being able to orchestrate many processes to work together. C programming is just a love-hate relationship. It is fun but debugging it is just torture. Lastly, it woke me up to the fact that  phones/laptops that boast multi-core processors is only there for marketing purpose since most programs don’t even use the extra cores available… Just praying hard for a good grade for this one.

CS3241 Intro to Computer Graphics: Having no artistic appreciation nor creativity, I only took it because it gives me free Wednesdays. Most of the cool stuff in games and animations are just too hard or too tedious. But at least got to learn something new and understand the workings of graphics rendering.

CS4225 Massive Data Processing Techniques: Probably my main aim here was just for the infrastructure, system, low level aspects of big data processing. Actual big data work involves domain-specific stuff like machine learning, which I am not really keen in. Somehow still managed to survive ok after some struggles.

CS5250 Advanced Operating Systems: One of the main reasons for not graduating earlier. Much more detailed and interesting than the introductory course, even scratching the surface of lower levels like X86 and assembly code, but still cannot stomach all the new and complicated stuff. Thankfully this time there is no final exam or I will have to R.I.P. Doing mallocs and memory copying in programming assignments were fun. The kernel/driver library headers even influenced me to spam function-like macros to make complicated code more understandable from software-engineering perspective. C-programming for the win.

LAJ3203 Business Japanese 1: Wanted to use this to improve my Japanese language further but end up preparing only enough to barely survive lessons and exams due to several CS assignments having close deadlines. Still not used to the very polite forms at all.

I guess I slacked too much in the first half when I the assignment deadlines still felt very far away. In the end is just coding, writing reports and drafts whenever the eyes are open. What a way to finish university life!

Now that everything is over, a bit at a loss as to what to do in this final break before working life starts. For one, I have no clear problem to try to apply what I have newly learnt and solve. At this rate, I will just be lazing at home all day… Hopefully this break won’t be boring.

On another note, today I was told that I didn’t finish my “FYP”. Well, ok I think I am quite fail as a person and in life…

Post Japan Trip Thoughts

It’s been 3 days since coming back from Japan. It wasn’t all perfect but it was definitely nice.

For the most part, it was sightseeing, exploring the nearby streets and places in the way, and shopping. The main highlights were meetups with the Japanese people I got to know through crashing the daytime activities of homestays and also going for Comic Market. It was nice catching up with them since it’s been quite a while since I saw them but hopefully next time there will be more time for other activities.

Also, it was nice soaking myself in the festive season of the New Year. Maybe it’s because I went closer to afternoon but I didn’t have to queue very long for hatsumode at Meiji Shrine, which was said to be very crowded.

Communication with the locals was much better than 3 years ago now that I have taken some Japanese lessons n school, though there is still a big room for improvement in terms of listening skill and vocabulary pool.

The things that were lacking in this trip were snow and a visit to Shirakawa-go(the bus was fully booked).

Even though I went with my parents(they tagged along as they didn’t trust that I could survive alone and in the cold winter season), I felt I didn’t treat them very well. Mainly because we have not much in common anymore(not that I have much in common with most people anyway), and also our conflicting ways of scheduling when it comes to catching flights and trains. Turns out my way would have risked missing flights as the whole procedure took longer than in Singapore due to more walking distance and slower security check queues. It is hard to break the relationship with them ast the neutral zone but I’ll see what happens.

There are still quite a number of things I want to do, like going for Nana’s concert on my own(includes the seemingly hard-for-gaijins process of buying tickets), which are more convenient if I were staying in Japan. I look forward to be able to stay there for work, even if it’s only for a few years.

遅れる新年ポスト

午前0時ごろ書いた方がいいけど、うちのホストと話して、それから疲れて、書かなかった。

回顧したとき、去年はまあまあと思う。したことはいつも始めに自信があるけど、結局あまりうまく行わなかった。成績も悪くなった。

夏休みのインターンの計画もあまりうまく行わなかった。日本でのインターンが欲しかった。でも、インターンの選択するのが早過ぎて決めて、チャンスを捨ててしまった。それで、年末日本に行くのは衝動に決めた。それでも、インターンの仕事が楽しくて、今は卒業したから、その会社で働く予定だ。

いいこともあったよ。いろいろな活動で日本人の友達が少し多くなった。今の旅で日本人の友達に会って、簡単な会話が全部日本語でできて嬉しかったよ。

もちろん、今年はもっと幸せになりたい。でも、その為に何をすればいいか、今もわからない。

とにかく、あけましておめでとう*\(^o^)/*

2nd last end-of-semester post

Again, way too long since anything was posted so this place is presumably dead. Too lazy and also I don’t want to write stuff that are too personal that it invites criticism of me as a person. Nevertheless, another end-of-semester post/rant again. Should have been the last but I chose not to graduate early so it ended up being 2nd last. If I’m too lazy to write the last then this will be the last >.*

I’ll start with modules and why I took them.

CS3219 (software engineering module): I need this to clear my specialization. I didn’t like that there is no absolute correct answer to what principles and stuff to apply for any situation. Plus, good design may sometimes conflict with my preferred goal of squeezing every ounce of performance.

CS4224 Distributed Databases: Clear database specialization. Seems useful to know how database systems work in distributed environment. Project was tough but at least theories could be applied as considerations when designing and using the databases.

CS4234 Optimization Algorithms: Should have been a piece of cake but turns out it wasn’t. Only thing I am proud of is slavaging some marks in finals through pure luck.

MA2214 Combinatorics and Graphs: Clear math and science requirement. Supposed to be easy with CS1231 knowledge but lecturer likes to set questions that need (critical, higher order, whatever you name it) thinking.

LAJ2203 Japanese IV: Breadth module. Nearly failed my placement test to get into this module since Japanese III is not an option due to timetable issues. Interesting with opportunities to interact with Japanese students.

With these, I qualify for graduation but I still have a few interesting modules I want to take so I ended up dragging into a normal 4-year.

Not much time to dabble with my favourite task of server setup and provisioning since projects are mainly focussed on application layer and such setups are implicitly required to figure out by oneself to get environment working. Super low incentive to do it well given time constraints. Towards end of semester, was choking on 3 parallel projects. Not motivated to do revision during reading week and ended up binge watching Gintama. Exams of course became hard.

Took part in buddy programme with Japanese exchange student and went on a few outings with them. It was nice interacting with them even though I still struggled with Japanese when trying to say what I want to say.

Also went for career fair for working in Japan. Totally flopped and there goes my dream of living in Japan. Both companies I interned with gave me job offers though. Spent a long and antagonizing time making hard decision on which offer to accept. Since the companies are Japanese ones, there is still hope of going to Japan for a few years 🙂

Hoping my upcoming Japan trip would be fun. Was planning to chill by myself or with a friend but now that my parents are tagging along, it becomes stressful 😦 Still, I look forward to meeting Japanese friends there.

End of Internship

Time really flies, and the summer break will be over in a week’s time and 12 weeks of internship finally ended today. This internship experience took away monotony(eat, sleep, waste time, repeat) from my long break and I felt like I have grown a bit at the end of it all. In terms of technical skills, definitely yes(refer to my previous posts). In life, as a person, maybe not much.

Many things happened that made this summer different from the usual holidays: Google Code Jam participation(I was too noob to advance to the next round…), Gundam Docks@SG, participation in Internet Problem Solving Contest(team rank ~200), NM7RGG anniversary, karaoke outing with Nanatards, and lastly getting IPPT Silver again after 2 years. Quite a nice side story if school is the main story for these 4 years.

This journey wasn’t without ups and downs. What got me through the downs were inspirations from rewetting snippets of Gundam Build Fighters(Sei Iori and Meijin Kawaguchi) and playing Brave Frontier(Karl’s Grand Quest). Not gonna elaborate on this, lest it becomes really long-winded. Pretty lame for inspiration source huh? Essentially, I need to have more faith in myself, and the future.

With the next part of school life almost in place, the going seems to be even tougher than the last in the near future: crazy time-consuming module(s) and several extra commitments(ICPC Regionals participation, lab teaching duties). I hope I would not end up being a burden to my upcoming teams because I am too stretched out in terms of time.

On a side note, I finally received my copy of Nana’s latest single, Exterminate!

To wrap things up, here’s some photos taken this week to mark the end of the internship. Many thanks to the company and the team for making the experience wonderful.

Thanks for putting up with such a long post. Till the next time.